BY DAVE BORODY
KITCHENER – The Sarnia Sting dropped a 4-1 decision to the Kitchener Rangers, Friday in front of 6,988 fans at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.
The loss dropped Sarnia’s record to 1-5-0-0 in the Ontario Hockey League. The Sting has lost four in a row.
Kitchener dominated the game outshooting Sarnia 51-22.
“We were caught on our heels,” said Sting head coach, Trevor Letowski. “This is always a tough place to play and we knew Kitchener would come hard at us. But we were a little overwhelmed tonight.
“We weren’t moving our feet at all and they were taking it to us. We need everybody going hard. It wasn’t even close tonight.”
Sarnia was outshot 18-6 in the first period, but escaped trailing only 1-0. Justin Bailey scored Kitchener’s goal at 3:29 finishing off a two-on-one break.
Nick Latta and Nikolay Goldobin had two golden scoring opportunities for the Sting, but Latta deflected a goalmouth pass just wide of the open corner while Goldobin fired a wrist shot from the slot over the net.
The Rangers peppered Sting goalie Taylor Dupuis with 22 shots in the second period and came away with three more goals.
Curtis Meighan knocked in a rebound at 2:55, Radek Faksa scored a shorthanded goal on a two-on-one break at 12:57 while Bailey got his second of the night at 14:19 capitalizing on a Sting giveaway.
“That third goal was a tough one to give up. We were already behind and then we allow a shorthanded goal like that,” said Letowski.
Anthony DeAngelo had Sarnia’s best scoring chance as he rang a wrist drive off the goal post.
Sarnia spoiled Jack Moylan’s shutout bid in the third period at 2:42 when Brett Hargrave notched his first goal of the season. Hargrave took a pass in the slot from Vladislav Kodola and rifled a shot over the goalie’s shoulder. DeAngelo also gained an assist.
The Sting had two regulars out with injuries, as goalie Brodie Barrick and defenceman Josh Chapman were both hurt in Saginaw Wednesday night.
Barrick strained his shoulder while attempting to grab a loose puck in the goal crease and is listed as day-to-day. Chapman suffered a nasty gash on his left wrist after a Saginaw player accidentally skated over it late in the third period.
Sting assistant coach Andy Delmore said they aren’t taking any chances with Chapman and are giving him the weekend off.
“He really wanted to play and if was the seventh game or something like that, he probably would be playing,” said Delmore. “But the wrist is swollen a bit and it’s best to take some time off.”
Rookie Justin Fazio served as a backup to Dupuis. Fazio has been tending goal for the Lambton Shores Predators junior B team.
Letowski opted to play Fazio in the third period and he stopped all 11 shots he faced.
“I thought Dupuis was outstanding tonight. But we play again tomorrow night and he will be right back in there. It was a great opportunity to get Fazio in the game and feel it a bit. He played well,”
Fazio said he wasn’t nervous.
“I was a little anxious, but not nervous. The guys made it easy for me and helped get me through it. The tempo of this game was a little different than pre-season. It’s faster and you need be quicker on your feet.”
Fazio added, “I’ve played in this rink in minor hockey, but the atmosphere tonight was crazy. It’s so different when there is a packed house.”
Defenceman Mike DiPaolo played his first game of the season for the Sting after missing time with a knee injury suffered in a pre-season fight.
The Sting returns to action Saturday night when they take on the Niagara IceDogs beginning at 7:05 p.m. at the RBC Centre.
“It’s hard to think about our next game,” said Letowski. “Tonight we changed up the lines a little in the third period. We need to start getting some secondary scoring. We gave guys plenty of ice time tonight. If they don’t start producing we might have to change things up.”
Tickets for the game and all remaining home games for the Sting are on sale daily at the RBC Centre Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at Sarniasting.com
“The past two years I was with Houston of the American Hockey League. But that team moved to Iowa this season and it wasn’t a good fit for my family. My wife and I have three kids under the age of four and have lots of relatives in southwestern Ontario,” said Van Ryn.
He spent a couple of years with Niagara as an assistant coach. The London native played several seasons in the National Hockey League with Toronto and Florida before some serious knee injuries forced him to retire.
Healthy scratches for the Sting were rookies Patrick White and Connor Schlichting.
All three stars were from Kitchener.
Sarnia was zero-for-three with the man advantage and Kitchener zero-for-four.